David Driskell Celebrates 80th Birthday with a Retrospective at DC Moore Gallery

NEW YORK—“David Driskell. Creative Spirit: Five Decades,” explores the work of a pivotal figure. An artist, collector, scholar and curator, Driskell’s influence on the field of African American art is wide-ranging. The retrospective at DC Moore Gallery marks his 80th birthday and features about 30 works—paintings, drawings, collages and two sculptures.

A powerful blend of abstract, narrative and figurative elements defines the collection. The collages clearly reference Romare Bearden with whom Driskell worked.

Driskell began teaching at the University of Maryland in 1977 and is the former chair of the Art Department. He serves as cultural adviser to Bill and Camille Cosby, avid collectors of black art. And when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton selected the first painting by an African American to hang in the White House—”Sand Dunes at Sunset” by Henry Ossawa Tanner—she sought Driskell’s counsel. Established in 2005, the Driskell Prize at the High Museum of Art is the “first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history.” Driskell also advances African American art and creates opportunities for emerging artists through the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland.

“Creative Spirit” is on view from Jan. 6 to Feb. 4, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

Above, A couple views “Dance of the Masks, 2000 (collage, oil and acrylic on canvas). Top of page, Detail of “Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox),” 1974 (oil and collage on canvas).

The exhibit includes about 30 works in a variety of mediums.

“Homage to Romare,” 1976 (collage and gouache on masonite).

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